Ways to Make Baking Healthier: Applesauce for sugar

Healthier Baking trial #3: Applesauce for sugar

One of the building blocks to baking is a crazy amount of sugar. For this trial I tried to reduce calories in baking by reducing the amount of sugar used and replacing it with applesauce.

The health benefits of applesauce are minimal. However, with the capacity to be a sweetener for a fraction of the calories, using applesauce in place of sugar when trying to bake healthier sweet treats can be a lifesaver. I did the math and 1 cup of sugar contains roughly 770 calories. A cup of applesauce only has 52 calories!

Okay. So what’s the process? In theory, you could swap out as much sugar for applesauce as you’d like, but again the ratio is 1 to 1. So for example, 1 cup applesauce for 1 cup sugar. Or replace the amount of sugar you want to leave out with the same amount of applesauce. If the recipe call for 1 cup of sugar, and you only want to leave out ½ cup of sugar, just replace that half cup with half cup of applesauce. 1 thing to note however is that because applesauce has more liquid than plain sugar, you will generally want to reduce the amount of water or milk used by 1/4 for every cup of applesauce used.

For my trial of this healthier substitution, I made pumpkin spice cupcakes. You can find this decadent recipe here. You will find after looking at the recipe that it calls for 1 cup white sugar, and 1/3 cup brown. I swapped out all of the white sugar for 1 cup of apple sauce, but left everything else the same, needing to add slightly more milk than called for and using the not so runny batter to fill up the muffin cups most of way full, as the mixture didn’t rise much for me while baking.

My results:
cup cakes

The cups cakes turned out beautifully in regards to texture and appearance, though you there was a noticeable difference in the flavor. Remember though, I swapped out all of my white granulated sugar. My suggestion when using this substitution is to swap no more than half of the called for sugar out for applesauce. Any amount that you swap out will help the recipe be healthier overall. The point of using these swaps is to create sweet treats that would enjoy just as fully as if you hadn’t swapped a thing. If we swap out all the unhealthy stuff, but don’t enjoy the result, I don’t feel we have really accomplished anything beneficial.

Thank you for reading, and good luck with your baking adventures! Please comment if you have any questions, or anything other experiences, or ideas to add! I look forward to hearing from you!

Ways to Make Baking Healthier: Avocados for Butter

Continuing on with this week’s theme of ways to make baking healthier, I have found and tested another interesting substitute for baking.
Healthier Baking tip trial # 2: Avocado for butter or Crisco
Not a Joke!

When compared with butter, avocado wins in every category:
Calories– 2 Tbsp. Avocado 50 / 2 Tbsp. Butter 200
Total fat (g)– 2 Tbsp. Avocado 4.5 / 2 Tbsp. Butter 23
Saturated fat (g)- 2 Tbsp. Avocado .5 / 2 Tbsp. Butter 15
Cholesterol (mg)– 2 Tbsp. Avocado 0 / 2 Tbsp. Butter 60
Sodium (mg)– 2 Tbsp. Avocado 0 / 2 Tbsp. Butter (salted) 200
Not only does avocado beat out butter by containing less fat, calories, cholesterol and sodium, they are also considered by many to be a super food containing over 20 essential nutrients including healthy fats and compounds that have been found to lower bad cholesterol and increase the good, improving heart health. Amazing!

When I first stumbled upon this substitution tip I was pretty skeptical. I am not a huge fan of Avocado, though I do appreciate the many health benefits they offer and after reading that using avocado in your baking would not taint the flavor of your treats, I decided it would be well worth the try.

For my trial I used a simple chocolate chip cookie recipe I found at Marthastewart.com. The substitution process was very simple. Follow the recipe instructions like normal, only swap out the butter for avocado meat pureed until creamy in a blender or food processer in a ratio of 1:1. For example, if 1 cup butter is asked for, use 1 cup avocado puree instead.

If you are reading this and are interested, but have never used avocado before and not sure how to go from a piece of green bumpy fruit to a puree, click here for a quick YouTube tutorial on how to process an avocado.
After baking, these were my results:

avocado cookies 2

 

Very green, yet delicious chewy chocolate chip cookies! After numerous taste tests the results came back that the swap was overall a success! Plus, I met new people on my floor when they were willing to take a chance in trying out my mysterious green cookies. What more could I ask for?

A few things to note when baking with avocado:
Baking time/temp– When baking with avocado in place of butter, the cooking time may take a few minutes longer than suggested. Also, the cookies may start to brown quicker than normal. In this case reduce heat, and increase further the baking time

Consistency – With the recipe I used for this trial I added slightly (about ¼ cup) more flour than the recipe called for in order to get the dough a thicker consistency. Using the avocado the dough will be slightly gooier than normal. After baking the consistency of your cookie should be firm, like any cookie. If the cookie is bending when you try to take it off the sheet, it isn’t done baking!

Texture- If you are like my mom, and not a huge fan of chewy baked goods, I would swap out less butter to retain some of the crunch. For example, instead of swapping the avocado 1 to 1 try swapping ¾ or ½ the butter. As you read above, swapping even only part of the butter out with avocado, can still help to make your treats substantially healthier.

Color– your baked goods will most likely turn out a lovely green color when implementing this substitution. This could be great if you are baking for kids, who might think it’s silly and fun, or around St. Patty’s Day when the color is appropriate.

For more ideas on how to use avocados in your baking visit this baking with avocados page. To check out my other healthy baking trial posts click here for black beans for oil, and here for applesauce for sugar.

Thanks for reading! Come back again soon as I explore more ideas to make cooking healthier.

Ways to Make Baking Healthier: Bring on the Beans

Starting this week I will be using this blog as a medium for a 5 week class project. My project will center on healthier cooking, and will include tips, recipe ideas, other references (blogs, articles, books, magazines, etc), and anything else I find pertinent in informing you all, and myself on ways we can all cook healthier!

I don’t know about you, but when I first started thinking about healthier cooking, I thought, “yep, this is going to take all the fun and flavor out of my food.” In order to prove thoughts like these as FALSE, I’ve decided to start this first week of my project talking about desserts. Yep. You read that correctly, Healthier, yet just as delicious desserts.

Let’s get started

Healthier Baking Tip #1: sub in beans for oil


-When baking darkly colored treats like brownies, cakes, cookies, etc, replace the oil with black bean puree (mashed up or blended rinsed black beans with enough water to make it a liquidy texture) in a ratio of 1-1. When baking lightly colored treats like cookies, lighter bars, cakes, etc replace with a light colored bean like pinto, navy, or cannellini, in the same fashion as the black beans.
The result: A sweet treat that will truly satisfy with more fiber and protein, and less fat.
Too good to be true? …. Nope!
I put this one to test this week with this simple brownie recipe using only a box of brownie mix and a can of pureed black beans.

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The results, as you can see, were fabulous. Rich, thick, satisfying, chunky brownies, truly quite possibly the best brownies I’ve ever tasted, and best of all no hint of those beans in the flavor!

To be sure I wasn’t being biased I used my neighbors as tests subjects

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/>All tests came back positive, with all subjects in disbelief that what they were eating was made with black beans. Mission accomplished. Thank you, and good night.

Come Back this week again as I continue to explore ways to make baking healthier, but still delicious.

For more wonderful ideas of ways to sub various types of beans into your cooking visit this page from apreparedhome.com!